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A trailer just dropped for the live action Alita: Battle Angel movie and I’m seeing a fair bit of controversy over the large eyes given to Rosa Salazar as Alita. Before I talk about it:

For example Verge says that “in which its main character falls squarely into the uncanny valley”, Engadget refers to “creepy CG anime eyes” in its headline, and Gizmodo is also referring to the “creepy, giant eyes”.

Meanwhile over on twitter there’s a raging argument (that I’m only catching bits and pieces of[1]) ranging across white washing[2] to being faithful to the manga is a good thing to this will be a disaster because Ghost in the Shell.

All this as Gizmodo observed off “90 seconds seven months from release.”

I may as well add my 2 cents worth. 🙂

For a start Scrap Iron City looks good, and the feel of the world seems right. Barring one utterly cringeworth “did you really go there?” line which I hope gets dropped from the film, Rosa Salazar makes a convincing Alita even in the constraints of a trailer.

But whilst I’m seeing the articles acknowledge that James Cameron has been working on Alita for years if not decades, few if any[3] talk about what that’s likely to mean.

So let me spell it out for you:

James. Cameron. Is. A. Fan. Of. Battle. Angel.

Seriously I seem to recall the earliest mention of James Cameron wanting to make Battle Angel dating right back to the release of the OAVs in the early 90s. And whilst I’ve been cynical about whether he’d ever pull it off, it seems like I was wrong.

And he’s still involved as producer.

But no one really seems to be talking about how likely this is to be a labour of love for Cameron, and I think that’s a mistake. I’m often a cynic but I just can’t see someone working on something for a quarter century (give or take) without being a huge fan of the source material.

The giant eyes may be a creative blunder, or they may work in the context of the whole film (when we see it) but look at the rest of what’s in the trailer.

As I said above… it looks good. It looks right.

So, for the moment, I think I’m cautiously optimistic about this adaptation.

Because I really do think that this is a labour of love, and that there’s a good chance that will show up in the final product.

[1] Because most of my time is going to curating photos for the Grand Tour. Duh.

[2] Fair. There’s no Japanese cast members as far as I can tell, although the rest of the cast seems fairly diverse (ish.

[3] i.e. None that I’ve seen, please leave a link in the comments if you have seen one.